CAIRO. – An Egyptian court yesterday sentenced two policemen to 10 years in jail for the killing of a blogger whose death rallied protesters in the 2011 revolt that toppled Hosni Mubarak.
The two policemen were sentenced following a retrial for the manslaughter and torture of Khaled Said in June 2010, after they had unlawfully arrested him at an Internet cafe in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.
Mahmoud Salah Mahmoud and Awad Ismail Suleiman had initially been sentenced to seven years in October 2011 for excessive brutality.
Said’s death galvanised protests against then-president Mubarak, after pictures emerged online of the 28-year-old’s mangled face.
The government further enraged Mubarak’s opponents when it tried to cover up the killing by alleging he choked on a bag of drugs.
A Facebook group entitled “We are all Khaled Said” helped organise the 18-day protests that drove Mubarak’s hated police force from the streets and forced him to resign in February 2011.
Yesterday’s sentencing comes amid renewed popularity for the police, who supported the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July, and a pattern of acquittals for policemen tried for killing protesters during the anti-Mubarak revolt.
Since Morsi’s ouster, Egypt has witnessed not only a crackdown on his supporters, which Amnesty International says has left more than 1 400 people dead, but also arrests of top youth leaders who spearheaded the revolt against Mubarak.
Three years after the overthrow of Mubarak, Egypt’s police again faces accusations of brutality and ill treatment in detention centres, charges denied by the interior ministry.
The police and army have come under frequent attack by jihadist militants, mainly in the restive Sinai Peninsula, with dozens killed since Morsi’s ouster.
Yesterday, two policemen were shot dead and four wounded in four separate attacks across the country. – AFP.